Independent Scholarship

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Thu Mar 21 13:15:30 EST 1996

On 21 Mar 1996, M wrote:

> In article <ADLER.96Mar16022239 at>,
> Allen Adler <adler at> wrote:
> >
> [snip]
> >
> >Admittedly, everyone who wishes to pursue his/her scholarship
> >has to figure out how to put bread on the table and to cover
> >the logistical costs of the scholarship itself. But it is
> >up to the individual who undertakes the scholarship to decide
> >whether to face the bleak odds or not. It is not up to the
> >schools to make the decision for them.
> >
> >From the discussion, it sounds as though the trend will be
> >towards independent scholarship. People who have never experienced
> >intelligent life outside the operational definitions of
> >their research establishments will be surprised to know that
> >this road is not impossible to travel. Therefore, I would
> >appreciate seeing some discussion of independent scholarship
> >from the point of view of someone trying to do it, not from
> >the cushy point of view of those who wheel and deal.
> >
> >In particular, I would like to know what is to be done to
> >encourage and to facilitate truly independent inquiry. The
> >intellectual life you save may be your own.
> >
> I agree completely, in principle. The problem is, though, that in my area 
> at least (behavioral neuroscience) it's a little difficlut to do research 
> outside of some institution.  I suppose I could house my rats in my 
> apartment.  Or I could change my research interests to something more 
> "scholarly", which is a possibility.  But even if I could do my research 
> independently, there would still be costs associated with publishing my 
> findings; most journals in my research area have page costs, which are 
> typically in the hundreds of dollars, and then there are reprints.  

The fact that system of academic publishing has evolved
a situation when the AUTHORS (producers !) have to pay page 
charges to get there work be published and so be consumed
(read) by 'customers' is by itself a very good illustartion
of the odd structure of academic enterprise. What other
social group will put up with such situation ? When I been
telling this to some people outside of science they opened
their mouths in disbelief: they thought that JOURNALS are
paying authors for thier published articles. For them
this is a normal course of things. But not for the

> it's hard to imagine how I can "put bread on the table" and also do my 
> research.  
> But I agree completely that scholarship is related to artistic or other 
> creative endeavors; we do them because of the kinds of people that we 
> are.  
> >Allan Adler
> >adler at

More information about the Bioforum mailing list